Many Asians from the Sub Continent have a passion for football, but with the increasing population of Asians in the United Arab Emirates, little has been done to reach out to them.
Al Jazira had tried it a few years ago under the guidance of legendary Carlo Nohra with groundbreaking media strategies. This ground breaking media strategy included early morning radio spots on Asian channels inviting the listeners to come to the Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium for a domestic league game. The spot included mentions of freebies and half-time activities for the crowd that would be engaging.
Since then, little has been done to continue the efforts.
Till now that is.
Al Ahli is the first club this season to reach out to the massive Indian expat population in the country with their association with voluntary football academy Sports & Education Promotion Trust (SEPT) in Dubai. The organization, with local roots in the Southern State of Kerala, largely focuses on recognizing talent among young children in the rural, sub-urban coastal areas of Kerala and aims at providing these children with an opportunity to excel at the sport.
This alliance will see expat children train twice a week at the Rashid Stadium probably under the coaching and guidance of Carlos Carvalhal, head of youth development.
It was also reported that the extremely talented individuals will be signed to the club’s own academy which can legally take in two foreigners. The chances of this happening considering the other Arabic speaking nationalities are slim but yet this is a positive move and an opportunity that most of us did not have while growing up in the country.
The assumption is that this could possibly affect the selection dilemma of the Indian national team depending on how serious both parties are. Perceptibly, the club will be benefit from the interest of the Indian community as was observed during the U-17 World Cup.
Al Ahli’s CEO Ahmad Khalifa sounded positive in his statements as the alliance was discussed except for when he stated,
“I think many pass in front of the gates of the stadium and don’t know what is behind the wall, it is not a military base” via sports360.com.
Well Mr. Khalifa, the walls could do with some refreshing paint job.